How do you stay intentional with the students in your small group or youth group?
Matt: To be successful in student ministry you need to be intentional in your relationship and dealings with students. It makes you stand out as someone who cares about them and makes it much easier for a student to come to you with a problem. Human nature makes us seek out people who care as opposed to someone who is just going to listen and nod their head yes or no. During time with students forget about checking your phone for text messages or e-mail.
Here are some other things I do:
- Each week before small group my co-leader and I take a student out to dinner before our group meeting. This is a great opportunity to have some one-on-one time.
- Pay attention to prayer requests each week. Text them during the week and ask how they are doing with issues they asked for prayer, or find time to praise with them when a prayer request has a good result.
- Text your students during the week, ask them how things are going, challenge them with something. Basically make sure they know you’re thinking about them during the week and not just on small group night.
Steven: As we head into the new school year and a new year of small groups, I think this idea of being intentional with students is a great reminder for all of us. Small group is more than just the 2 hour meeting once a week–being intentional is about the other 166 hours. Here’s what I do to stay intentional (other than Matt’s great suggestions above):
- Keep the conversation going! If there was a great question or conversation that started at small group, don’t let it die! Encourage that conversation to continue, either with a quick text, phone call or FaceTime. You can go next-level by taking a student or 2 out to lunch to talk about it.
- Look for opportunities to include students in your everyday life. Going to the grocery store? Invite a student to come along. Washing your car? Go pick up a student and get some free labor and sneak in a good conversation. Intentional time can come from our normal, everyday activities!
- Spend time hanging out with students at church. They’re already expecting to see you at small group, so it’s logical that you could see them at church. It gives you extra time to hang out, and it gives you a glimpse into what they’re hearing during youth group.